Tuesday 29 July 2014

Meet the Maker: Ria of Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom

For the last few months I have had to prioritise things quite rigidly and the Meet the Maker feature has taken a bit of a back seat. As I am starting to re-focus back on the blog, I thought it was about time the makers got their spot back on a Tuesday and I couldn't resist these extremely delicious looking cakes by Ria of Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom to get us back into the swing of things!
So lets kick of with a drink! Tea or coffee? 
Tea obviously. Green tea most days. Black Russian Caravan/Rose Tea or herbal when fancy takes me. Never with milk or sugar, preferably loose leaf not bags unless I'm in an emergency situation - i.e. retail outlet/hotels that only has bags

Can we interest you in a biscuit or do you prefer a bit of cake? 
Happy with both, but 9 times out of 10 would pick a cake. I prefer traditional cakes that aren't too fussy. Sometimes cakes are overly decorated so there's hardly any cake involved. Some icings can be too sweet as well. I have to be careful as have a dairy free diet but sometimes I'll be naughty and indulge depsite the consequences, especially with French patissiere and always with Lauderee macarons!

So, tell us a bit about yourself and the item you are sharing.
I'm Ria and I live and work in Wellingborough, Northants. I run Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom. Previousy I worked in childcare and healthcare, but I am now submerged in the vintage life and baking.

I am sharing a Ria's Rose cake, it is my signature bake. It is rose flavoured and shaped. I developed it when rose became the theme setting up the tearoom as not only is rose in the title, I have a rose based house tea, rose lemonade, and a lot of rose crockery, so I thought I need a cake to complete it. It took 2 attempts at experimenting to perfect it as I wanted to ensure you could taste the rose without it being overwhelming. I also add some pink colouring to warm it up and make it more lifelike, but again have to ensure the taste of the colouring doesn't affect the rose flavour. Most customers say it tastes like turkish delight. I have a special cake mould which makes a batch of 12 individual roses - I don't hand sculpt them like some people think. To finish them off I dust them with icing sugar so it looks like a rose with morning dew on it! They have become very popular with many people now ordering them for occassions rather than the usual celebration cake - they fit nicely into party/favour bags/boxes.

They look and sound AMAZING. How long have you been baking?
I've always enjoyed baking since I was a little girl, when I could stir but was never allowed to touch the eggs! It grew with me as my mother and Grandparents taught me, and as everyone knew I enjoyed baking I inherited my Gran's recipe books which I still use today - there are many family secrets in there which I've been entrusted to protect. It also gives me an edge as no-one else locally will have the recipes for things like Anzacs and Tottenham Traybake. I now keep up to date watching programmes, reading books and magazines, and doing a bit of research online. I do like taking tea and Afternoon Tea as well, so visit other tearooms in my travels which means I can see what others are doing for inspiration.

...and do you dabble in any other crafts?
I have also liked needlecraft and hand embroidery but they've both fallen by the wayside recently whilst I establish the tearoom. I'd also like to make clothes but would need to learn how to use a sewing machine first!

So when did you start Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom and why?
I opened Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom in July 2013, but actually started planning it and locating premises/stock in January 2013. In the local area there are a lot of coffee shops, and as I tea drinker I was fed up of having no variety and being presented with a teabag in scalding hot water. A lot of other people I noticed was saying the same thing, so when the opportunity came up last year, combined with the fact I was unhappy in my previous career, I decided rather than keep on moaning about it, I'd do something about it. It also gives me the opportunity to provide for dietary needs. As I follow a dairy free diet it was limiting going to other venues, so I make sure I can cater for dairy and gluten free all the time, and diabetic on request.

What inspires and motivates you?
I'm inspired by everything -nature, music, books, television. I'm also looking at different media forms, and scanning the wider picture for ideas for cakes and themes for the tearoom. That is where things like Scottish month, Spring in Bloom, and Pumpkin month originated from. I'm motivated when I get positive feedback and see happy customers, especially those who come in quite upset and down, but when they leave say how much better they feel. It also an honour when I have hosted special events or provided occassion cakes, being involved in someones special day, and seeing how you have contributed to that makes it worthwhile.

Any crafting heroes?
Saint Mary of Berry of course! Her recipes are foolproof and have never let me down. I grew up with Delia Smith who again I do rely on. More modern day inspirations are Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, and Rachel Khoo. And of course, mum and grandmother's as they were ones to originally teach me

Any big plans for the rest of 2014?
Other than world domination? Ha ha! Continuing to build on customer base and push myself to try more complicated recipes and decorations. I'd like to hold more events at the tearoom so am listing ideas for that at the moment. I have also recently become a member of Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce, so am looking forward to getting involved with that, and advocating local, independant retail in the town.

So can we join you in your virtual world?
You can indeed, I have most of social media covered.
Website: www.riasrosylee.com
Twitter: @riasrosylee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rias-Rosy-Lee/524488187617506
E-mail: riarosy@outlook.com 
I am also on TripAdvisor, and write monthly online articles for the local paper the Northants Telegraph. It goes live in the What's On section, under the Food and Drink heading.

Finally, some quick fire questions just for fun..

Favourite colour?

The best season?

Your favourite food? 
No one thing immediately comes to mind, but definitey prefer sweet over savoury. 

The best day of the week? 

What is the best word? 
Individual - it's what I get called alot, along with unique. 

Favourite place? 

Your biggest achievement? 
Opening the tearoom!

It has been an absolute joy finding out all about Ria and Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom. Such a lovely idea and makes a change to the regular coffee shop. Who doesn't love a proper cup of tea!? I wish I could visit and if any readers are nearby, why not pop in? I'm thinking one of these cakes might go down very well with a lovely cup of leaf tea. I wonder it they travel well in the post.....mmmmm

Mrs Crafty B

Monday 28 July 2014

Winning a Hobbycraft Voucher

Way back, I won another Twitter competition run by @sundownstitcher! I recieved a Hobbycraft voucher and although I was very grateful and said thank you,  I did not post or say thanks on the blog. How very rude! I always like to say thank you publicly where it is due and this particular prize went to very good use.

I used the voucher to buy equipment and resources for some of the Crafty B's groups that I started (that have had to stop for now unfortunately :-( ). The children's Easter workshop's were especially popular. I always love getting involved in social networking competitions and I was really pleased to have won such a relevant prize.

So thanks again @sundownstitcher. I've been having a look around your newly refurbed site and it is fab. Some lovely pieces on there. Quick everyone, tweet @sundownstitcher and convince her to come and do a #MeetTheMaker interview ;-) 

Mrs Crafty B

Sunday 27 July 2014

The Week That Was: Filled With Happy Moments

Just lately, everything seems to be about our looming relocation. As Hubby is watching something I'm not that interested in, Baby B is sound asleep and Littlest B is crawling about like a crazy on the floor instead of sleeping, I thought I would log on and tell you about some other cool stuff that went on this week, inspired by the fabulous Hannah over at Make, Do and Push.

At the start of the week, Baby B had his last day at preschool for the summer term. As a thank you to all of the preschool staff, we decorated this cookie jar with some cermaic paints and baked some cookies. We recieved a lovely 'thank you' card and one of the staff asked for the recipe so I'm thinking that these went down quite well.
Although I don't want to mention 'the move' here in this post, we are still doing odd jobs through the week. On Tuesday, Baby B helped me clear out a few of the Crafty Bs boxes and decided to sit in the shade in the garden with his "BEST friend" Little Cat Tess and play with some stamps, brushes, pens, paper and scissors. He was happily entertained for a good 40 mins doing his 'paper work'. It was a really relaxed start to the week and Baby B's behaviour was golden. He has been so good and very grown up this week!
Wednesday was a really long day. After three years of hard work, my 'little' sister graduated. We traveled up to Nottingham (with both boys) to see her in her gown and get some pics and then followed on to Mansfield where we celebrated with the rest of our family. She graduated from the same Uni as I did and did the same course. I couldn't resist this shot for old times sake! 
Afterwards, we got to give her the card I had made with a few wise words courtesy of Dr.Suess and after celebrations, we made the long journey home with the boys ready for bed. They were so good all day and both slept the whole way home and were put into bed without any problems. Amazing. I love weeks like this one where you feel like you are winning on all fronts. 

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go"
On Friday evening, for the first time in a VERY long time, I 'popped' to the pub. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine in the sunshine with some lovely ladies and came home late. It DID result in me being a bit...you know...but having been resigned to the odd glass here and there for a good few years, I'm a bit out of the 'more than two' practice so this was to be expected. It took my mind off of things so this was all good. 

On Saturday we managed to replace our car. Someone drove into the back of ours quite recently and wrote it off, so this was a big tick off the list and a huge weight off our shoulders. Phew. 

Today has been spent mostly pottering about, doing odd jobs and making happy memories with my boys. We have enjoyed special moments of just being together at home together which these days, seem few and far between. I've also been doing a bit of up-cycling!
So apparently my weeks are indeed filled with more than housework, mealtimes and moving stresses so I really don't have any complaints. Well, if we are being picky, I didn't eat any cake...

Mrs Crafty B

Thursday 24 July 2014

Real Cornish Pasties and Deadly Seagulls

During our recent trip to Cornwall, we decided that it would be acceptable to eat our weight in fish and chips, ice creams, cream teas and of course, Cornish pasties. The hunt began almost immediately for the ACTUAL best one. Actually we found a good one and stuck with it, but that version doesn't tell you about the evil seagull/s! So....
On a few occasions, we enjoyed setting up base on the beach in Looe which is a beautiful coastal town and fishing port in south-east Cornwall. On the first day that we did this, we scouted out the yummiest looking pasties from the numerous shops claiming to be making 'the worlds best Cornish pasties' . We pretty much hit the jackpot first time as we decided on an open front shop in an old fishing cottage on Buller Street which had a view to a couple of the ladies making up the pasties.  We left armed with a box of delicious large Cornish pasties (it was massive and filled me up for like two days!) and headed back to the beach. By now we had learned to hide from seagulls and we hid inside our little dome tents scoffing our faces with the yummiest pasties ever. 

Our final day in Looe was again marked with a visit to 'Sarah's Pasty Shop' where I took a picture (my sister included, NOT a stranger) of the shop. You can't quite see their lovely Cornish blue display! Following this picture, we headed back to our beach base and decided, as I had a cup of tea, to sit on the wall. In our naivety, and despite our conversation about seagulls pooping on your head en route to the beach AND having an near miss with such poop during said conversation, we were completely oblivous to the evil blighters circling above our head and as Hubby B screamed "WATCH OUT" we did the girliest scream ever as a seagull dove straight at my sister snapping the food bag out of her hands followed by us chasing it down the beach. Can you say free entertainment? 

So the moral of this blog post, well, there are a few points really. Firstly, visit Looe, it's fab. Secondly, visit Sarah's Pasty Shop on Buller Street and enjoy a lovely freshly made Cornish Pasty. Thirdly and probably most importantly, watch out for those bloody seagulls!

Here's a picture of a little sign we acquired for the cloakroom door in our new place. It's in the utility which is the only room that already has a theme decided for it. Can you guess what the theme is? 
Mrs Crafty B

*This was not a sponsored post. Sarah's Pasty Shop did not ask for or request this post and all opinions are my own. I certainly did not get a free pasty (but if they want to give me one on our next visit, I guess that'd be ok).

Sunday 13 July 2014

I Tried Total Greek Yoghurt!

A while ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Total Greek Yoghurt who asked if I would like to get involved in #TryTotal. Although I have now long missed the Total+ competition, I love greek yoghurt and had promptly said "yes please." I waited for a couple of greek yoghurt vouchers to turn up and you can imagine my surprise when a box arrived! What kind of vouchers need a box?!

Here's what I found!
I know it's a bit sad but I was really excited! A cute little cheese board/chopping board. A pestle and morter and a little jar (who doesn't  love miniature) filled with tiny magnets showing different ingredient ideas for the Try Total and Total + adventure. The idea was to come up with winning combinations of Total Greek Yoghurt + 1 or 2 ingredients. Well I didn't think to far outside the box and I went straight for a couple of my favourites! 

Total + Lime + Coriander - Makes a really refreshing and yummy scrummy dip! 
Total + Malted flakes + Banana + Honey - Brand names omitted but this in ones of my favourite breakfasts. Really filling. Perhaps you could change up the flakes for granola. Ok I know this is 3 ingredients not 1 or 2!
So only two simple recipes for now, which isn't to say I don't smother this yummyness all over my chilli and lamb koftas but I don't always remember to get a picture! Doh....I'll have to make some more.

Mrs Crafty B

*I was sent this Try Total kit in order to get involved in the Total Plus competition. I genuinely do think greek yoghurt is yummy ;-)

Thursday 3 July 2014

Sunny Summer Holidays and New Life Chapters

A few weeks ago, had I been updating my blog, I would of been telling you about all the new Crafty B's group which were up and running. The Crafty B's week was looking a bit like this:

Hardwick Crafty B's 7.15pm till 9pm

Craft Cafe at 19 The Coffee House 9am till 11am

Re-Imagine Craft Cafe 10.30am till 12.00pm
Mini-Makers Re-Imagine Craft Cafe 12.30pm till 2pm
Mini-Makers After School Craft Cafe at The Ark 3.30pm till 5pm

Occasional craft day in Bourn 11am till 4pm

In the last month however, we have had some big life changing news and a two week break away so instead I'm going to tell you my news and er....brag about my holiday.

A while ago Hubby B started applying for jobs around and about the country. Although I wished him the best from a career perspective, I felt nervous about where our family would end up if anywhere other than Cambridge, so I put it to the back of my mind and continued with all of my big plans for Crafty B's. When he was offered a job in Cardiff the feelings were not straight forward. Excited. Nervous. Extremely sad to be leaving our home in the village where we married and had our two children. Now as we make plans to take a leap onto the property ladder and relocate to Wales, the rollercoster of emotion continues with the constant readiness to get going on this adventure. It's amazing how much needs done and how little time there is to do it! In 8 weeks, Hubby B starts his new job, commuting from Cambridge with a four night stay over whilst I continue getting ready to move at the end of October. 

We have started the clearing out of as much stuff as possible (need anything?!) and organising each room and whilst caught in a whirlwind of paper work, filing, organising, clearing out, mortgage and property chat we are trying to continue life as normally as possible. Hubby B working long hours, Baby B's being cared for here at home, keeping up with friends and family, family time, housework and of course the daydreams of how we will decorate our new home!
Two weeks in Cornwall gave us time to enjoy the important things in life and to reflect on what we were doing and how to go about doing it with as little stress as possible. Whilst we enjoyed beautiful sunshine and ate FAR too many pasties, portions of fish & chips and ice creams we chatted about what had to give back at home. We don't tend to live life at a steady pace! Unfortunately that meant that upon returning, I have had to call time (all too soon) on some of the Crafty B's groups that I have started. It makes me sad but I know that all of the Crafty B's will understand and I'm sure that there will be some summer activities that I'll be buzzin' about before we go.

So a new chapter of our life is beginning and I will be finding my place in the big wide world again over in Cardiff. Crafty B's will continue, just in a different format and Crafting a Daydream will be updated more regularly I'm sure, as I craft away to create our first 'owned by us' family home.

So here's your call to action. I need house moving tips! I've got the basics down....a travel box with the kettle in and some cake OBVIOUSLY but what else do I need to do or think about. Get in touch with your top tips PLEASE!! Comment below or email mrscraftyb@gmail.com. I'll compile a list of the best tips for a future blog post so don't forget to include your details/twitter handle.

Who's up for a new adventure then whilst I continue to craft my daydreams?!

Mrs Crafty B